Bubble Algae & How To Get Rid Of It

Bubble Algae & How To Get Rid Of It

As reefers we always try to be as careful as possible when adding new corals to the tank in order to avoid introducing pests.  We inspect the plugs, dip corals and maybe even quarantine livestock before adding it.  However, no matter how careful you are, nuisance algae may slip past your defenses and end up in your Reef Casa aquarium.  One common type of algae that often ends in tanks of all sizes, from massive 200 gallon systems to nano reefs, is bubble algae.

Bubble algae is the common name for a macro algae called valonia.  This is an appropriate name given its round shape.  The outer wall tends to be quite shiny and they can be found individually or in small clusters.  Interestingly, bubble algae are among the largest known single cell organisms.

Once a reefer spots bubble algae in their tanks there are a few things that they can do to combat it, and a few things that they should not do.  Because bubble algae can spread fairly quickly, it is important to act reasonably quickly to prevent a small problem from becoming a large one.  The first possible solution to the presence of bubble algae is manual removal.  Like removing a weed, this involves removing the entire structure.  Gently grab the bubble algae by its base and twist so that the entire bubble is removed.  It is a good idea to have a siphon handy to remove any pieces of algae that may end up free floating the tank.  It is important to make every possible effort to not pop the bubble, as this can cause the outbreak to spread.  The other option is to opt for natural predation.  Green and Red Emerald Crabs are known to be voracious consumers of bubble algae (as well as other types of microalgae) and can be part of a natural solution to the problem.  Often manual removal combined with the use of Emerald Crabs is the best solution.  Effective nutrient control is also very helpful in preventing outbreaks from occurring in the first place or reducing the severity of a current outbreak.  As with most problems, a bubble algae outbreak can be dealt with, but it may take some time and persistence.

It is important to remember that algae and pest issues are very common and no matter how well you maintain your Reef Casa All in One Aquarium you will likely deal with one or more of these problems, especially in the first months of running the tank.  The key is to know that all problems can be addressed with patience and sometimes some advice.  Happy Reefing!